People living with HIV continue to face discrimination in education and work place settings despite the infection having no correlation with losses in productivity, according to Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) in its HIV & Human Rights Mitigation Report 2014.
Posted on 28 June 2015 – 07:10pm
Last updated on 28 June 2015 – 07:47pm
PUTRAJAYA: People living with HIV continue to face discrimination in education and work place settings despite the infection having no correlation with losses in productivity, according to Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) in its HIV & Human Rights Mitigation Report 2014.
MAC President Datuk Dr Raj Karim said the report that was launched last Thursday in conjunction with the ‘Support. Don’t Punish! Global Day of Action’ observed across all sectors of society including education, employment, health care and law enforcement.
Dr Raj Kumar expressed her disheartenment that stigma and discrimination remained very much a fact of everyday life for people living with HIV, in spite of the remarkable progress made in HIV prevention and treatment.
“In the past year, HIV related discrimination in educational institutions and work place settings was particularly disturbing.
“Despite being given the assurance of good health by medical experts, employees and students living with HIV were dismissed and denied educational opportunities respectively on the grounds of ‘ill-health’,” she told Bernama.
Datuk Raj noted that another matter of grave concern was the issue of non-access to essential medicines such as antiretrovirals and methadone in police lockups and custodial settings which affected mostly drug users living with HIV.
“It gives rise to increased risk of HIV treatment resistance,” explained Datuk Raj.
She added MAC have been working very closely with the Royal Malaysia Police to introduce best practices of medicine and health service provision in police custody such as the placement of healthcare professionals in integrated lockup centres.
Dr Raj said the report also acknowledged the many successes of the Malaysian harm reduction programme namely needle and syringe exchange programme as well as methadone maintenance therapy that was introduced a decade ago.
On the other hand, Dr Raj said MAC called for a national drug policy reform, one that takes into account a comprehensive model of intervention including biomedical as well as psychosocial support.
“For the reformed drug policy to work, it must be ‘fit for purpose’,” she said. – Bernama